Years 9 and 10 Band Description
The nature of the learners
Students have prior experience of learning French and bring a range of capabilities, strategies and knowledge that can be applied to new learning. They are expanding the range and nature of their learning experiences and of the contexts within which they communicate with others. They have a growing awareness of the wider world, including the diversity of languages, cultures and forms of intercultural communication. They are considering future pathways and prospects, including how French may feature in these.
French language learning and use
This is a period of language exploration and vocabulary expansion, and of experimentation with different modes of communication such as digital and hypermedia, collaborative performance and group discussions. Increasing control of language structures and systems builds confidence and interest in communicating in a wider range of contexts. Learners use French to communicate and interact, to access and exchange information, to express feelings and opinions, to participate in imaginative and creative experiences, and to design, interpret and analyse a wider range of texts and experiences. They use French more fluently, with a greater degree of self-correction and repair. They reference the accuracy of their language use against a stronger frame of grammatical and systems knowledge. They demonstrate understanding of language variation and change, and of how intercultural experience, technology, media and globalisation influence forms of communication.
Contexts of interaction
The language class remains the principal context for learning and using French. Learners use written and spoken French to interact with peers, teachers and some other French speakers in local contexts and online environments. These exchanges are complemented by interactions with rich and varied language resources and materials. Learners may communicate with young French speakers and access additional resources and materials through ICT and teacher-facilitated connections. They may also participate in local community events such as Alliance Française activities, music or film festivals, or exchange-student hosting.
Texts and resources
Learners engage with a range of language-learning texts and support materials, such as textbooks, videos, apps, media texts and online materials. They also draw increasingly on texts produced for French-speaking communities, in a range of different times and contexts, such as short stories, songs, poems, newspaper reports, films, video clips, blogs and social media texts.
Features of French language use
Learners recognise and approximate the pronunciation, rhythms and intonation patterns of more extended phrases and compound sentences. They use words with more complex syllable combinations and become more fluent and accurate in both spoken and written language production. They gain more control of grammatical and textual elements. They use the passé composé tense of verbs conjugated with avoir and être, recognise the form and function of reflexive verbs, and use elements such as possessive adjectives and object pronouns. They use expressive and descriptive language to talk about feelings and experiences. They develop understanding of the nature of both translation and interpretation, noticing the relationship between language, texts and culture. A balance is maintained between activities that focus on language forms and structures and those that involve communicative tasks, performances and experiences. Task characteristics and conditions are more complex and challenging. They involve collaborative as well as independent language planning and performance, and development and strategic use of language and cultural resources. Learners analyse text more critically, identifying how language choices reflect perspectives and shape meaning. At this level, learners are developing understanding of the relationship between language, culture and identity. They identify how meaning-making and representation in a different language involve interpretation and personal response as well as literal translation and factual reporting. They explore the reciprocal nature of intercultural communication: how moving between different languages and cultural systems impacts on the learner’s ways of thinking and behaving; and how successful communication requires flexibility, awareness and openness to alternative ways. They develop the capacity to ‘decentre’ from normative ways of thinking and communicating, to consider their own cultural practices through the eyes of others, and to communicate in interculturally appropriate ways.
Level of support
This stage of learning revolves around consolidation and progression. Learners need opportunities for new challenges and more independent learning experiences. Continued scaffolding, modelling and monitoring are required to support these challenges. Resources are provided and processes modelled for the development of more autonomous self-monitoring and reflecting strategies (such as online journalling, video documenting, and discussion forums). Continuing focused attention on grammatical and textual features supports learners’ development as text producers.
The role of English
French is increasingly used for classroom interactions and routines, for elements of task participation and for structured discussions. English continues to be used as the medium of some instruction, for substantive discussion, comparison, analysis and reflection. This allows learners to talk in more depth and detail about their experience of learning French and about their views on culture, identity and intercultural experience. English is the language of analysis, comparison and critique, encouraging discussion of concepts such as ‘diversity’, ‘flexibility’, ‘interculturality’ and ‘stereotypes’. It allows for discussion and debate appropriate to learners’ age and cognitive levels but beyond their linguistic capability in French.